IT Employment

Tips for looking for a job on the sly

So, if you're not in the position to walk away from your current job while you're looking to go someplace else, you'll want to keep your job search on the lowdown. Here are some tips for doing that.

In some cases, the only thing worse than a job you hate is no job at all. So, if you're not in the position to walk away from your current job while you're looking to go someplace else, you'll want to keep your job search on the down low. Here are some tips for doing that.

Don't tell anyone at your current job that you're looking for a new job.

I know this one is tricky for many people. It's hard to keep something like a job search from coming up in conversation when you're bonding with your co-workers over chicken wings during lunch. Also, if you do land a job and give your notice, the co-workers you feel particularly close with may feel hurt by your keeping a secret from them. But the only way you can keep something entirely quiet is to keep it to yourself.

Use your own voice mail, email, etc., in your job search.

Not only is the use of company resources unethical but their usage may be monitored.

Use non-company contact information

List only home or cell phone numbers on your resume. It would be pretty difficult to field recruiter calls in your office with no one finding out, unless you sit in a windowless office with lead walls. And if you suddenly shut your door after you answer your phone, people will make their own assumptions, with a secretive job search being the best of the assumptions; the worst being that you're having an affair or that your doctor is calling to prescribe a medication you don't want anyone knowing about.

Interview on your own time

I don't know about you, but if I dress up at my office, about 30 people will ask if me if I have a job interview. It's tempting to answer, "No, I'm attending a funeral but thanks for making light of it," just to see them squirm. But the fact is interviewing during regular business hours is kind of obvious, even if you think you're being James Bond cool. And unless you use your lunch hour to do it, it's also kind of unethical.

If you're interviewing at a lot of places, try to schedule them all within the same day and take a personal day from work. If the interview is only available during work hours, try to schedule it near the end of the day and build in some extra time to go home and change first.

Guard your privacy online

Most online job search engines will allow you to block certain companies from seeing your information. Take advantage of this and block your current company. Also, you should use your social networking tools discreetly. Do send private emails to those on your LinkedIn contact lists but don't post daily Facebook updates on your attempts to flee the living hell of a job your currently have.

Keep it confidential

Tell the companies you're interviewing with that your job search is confidential. Most interviewers will understand that fact perfectly.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

51 comments
jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

I work in a business casual office and so it's not unusual to wear a nice shirt and nice pair of dress slacks. However at my old job before I started interviewing I'd just randomly wear dress clothes to work (no tie). So people were used to seeing it. When I started interviewing, the only difference was that I had the tie and jacket in the car and my lunches were longer than usual...*cough*

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Glad I live under one of those repressive socialist regimes. If I'm looking for another job, rule one is not to leave myself open to a charge of abusing my current employer. It's their safest route to getting rid of me before I've succeeded...... I might not announce it, but I don't hide it.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

The "land of the free" is also often the "land of the overly paranoid". Traditionally, here there is a mistrust of government AND of large companies, corporations, and institutions. Which, actually, I view as a healthy thing. As long as one doesn't let it get out of hand. Methinks some get carried away with it.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

which is why we have rules to contrain them when they follow their inherrent natures. It's pretty simple really if you give yourself the right to shaft your people to make a bigger buck, you agree to be shafted yourself. Whining about being on the short end of the deal is hypocrisy.

ScottTaylorMCPD
ScottTaylorMCPD

The real problem is that, unfortunately, all too many bosses see and treat their valuable employees as though they were children. This includes instituting frankly paranoid policies such as web filters and phone monitoring. The bottom line should be whether or not the employee is making a positive contribution to the goals of the company. An enlightened boss will actually encourage their employees to be actively aware of the larger industry context. If employees are treated like adults, then the company won't have to worry about them seeking greener pastures.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

I tried to make that sam argument in a post above but was blasted by the moral elists who are too high on their horse to come back down to realit. I find nothing wrong with an employee finding another job during work if that job doesn't provide the resources for the employee.

sbrinker
sbrinker

I just finished conducting a job search through a staffing firm that resulted in a job offered and accepted yesterday. While I agree with the "different strokes for different folks" adage, there is one important universal truth. Your situation at any given moment is the sum total of your actions toward and reactions to the world around you. Over the past five years with my current employer, there have been times that I absolutely hated my job, hated the decisions that were made, and hated the seeming disregard for my time. But over those five years I worked hard to keep the communication channel open to my superiors so that constructive and meaningful dialogue could still happen. That paid off during my job search because I could talk with my boss, and let him know how things were going without much fear of a pre-emptive firing. I leave this employer with my conscience clear, and no bridges burned in a job market I may need to use again over the next three decades.

bryantc
bryantc

A previous company used the fact that a guy was looking for a job to include him in the planned layoffs. His position was very hard to replace but the feeling of the top guy was if he was looking then he did not need to be there. After the guy was let go someone found out that he had only started looking in case he was laid off! We lost a very good person because the top guy's feelings were hurt.

CListo
CListo

I think that a employer that really cares about their employees, should ask directly if you are looking for a job and why. Not to include him in the layoffs but to see what the general sentiment around the company. Who knows if there are other looking for a job. Doing so, you can prevent a massive migration of talent just because you are not "reading" the signs

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

FWIW, I happen to know that certain people within certain companies know all about the blocking. And about Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. And do some amount of anonymous monitoring. That is, using IPs not associated with the company, made up identities, etc. And I'm not talking about just the company for whom I work. Although I know at least one of the senior management types in that company does at least somewhat "track" such things in the case of certain, select employees. I found that out a couple or 3 years ago. A slow time at work for us. I and some others were given temporary layoffs. Due to lack of adequate work and business. I was personally told that in my case it was definitely temporary, and expected to last no more than 3 months. Likely only two. I was even told to keep my company keys, door access card, company vehicle, company owned tools (laptop, etc). Now I wasn't particularly upset. Okay, it was a PIA. Unemployment doesn't pay as well as my regular rates. Sitting around that long is BORING. I like to be busy and doing stuff. Fishing is not nearly as interesting if you can do it all the time, any time you want. And I had all the long list of Honey-Do's done in 2 weeks. Had caught up on all my reading. Don't really watch TV or movies very much. Etc. So I decided, "What the heck?". Wouldn't hurt anything to start checking out possible alternatives and offers. I liked working for the folks I'd been working for, a lot. But who knows what I might find if I looked around a bit? Did I mention I was ... BORED? LOL ... so I put out some feelers and inquiries. Let it be known I was looking, slapped up a resume or two here and there. Within a week I got a call from work asking me to come back. Sat with the fellow I mentioned above. He didn't explain much except to say he knew I was looking. I just accepted that as stated and asked nothing of the details. Pretty much figured that anything put on the Internet wasn't really secret or secure anyway. Anyway, he simply asked if I wanted to come back to work for them, sooner than planned. Cautioned that things were still slow so I might have short workweeks. But that they'd do as best they could. Could pretty much guarantee 3 full days, anyway. Which would be about the same as what I was getting on unemployment. How about it? I took the offer. Some work being better than no work, in my view. Besides I liked my job assignment and the company. Later learned that the same fellow recalled another guy, who has the equivalent of the same job I do. Who had also put out some feelers. And also learned the same fellow knew of 2 others looking around, but he did not recall them nor make them an offer to return to work sooner than originally planned. This guy isn't the only one I know of to employ such tactics. Another company, whose folks I work with routinely, had someone doing similar. One of the employees had posted resumes and made it known he was looking. Evidently he thought no one was the wiser. He'd not said anything to his work mates, management, etc. But he might as well have. Turns out that almost as soon as he put out the fact he was looking on the Internet, someone within the company for whom he worked knew about it. And that person told someone else, and pretty soon EVERYONE knew. The guy had kept his name and other personal info secret in his postings. But if one knew very much about him, his education, his work history, etc it was pretty much unmistakeably him. He wasn't fired. But he was relieved of supervisory and management duties and assigned as a normal Worker Bee with limited authority, responsibilities, etc. He was no longer trusted. Apparently he'd also made some remarks online here and there about how much he disliked where he currently worked, how he thought they were incompetent idiots, etc. In so many words, phrased somewhat more PC, but the meaning was the same. Not a good plan. And I've known about maybe another couple similar situations that occurred within other companies.

christian-kehl
christian-kehl

At first, I have to admit I'm happy these supervisory methods are far less common in mid-europe than in the US. It's not like companies are stupid with the Internet or as if there are absolutely not watching what employees or wanna-be's are doing. But there are handling it more gentle with some social barriers that forbid a variety of methods. As a little tip, I can also contribute to separate private networks, networks you know your company is in, other official blogs etc. and job sources. This not only concerns to think about where to post what. Generally, posting about your job search is bad ... posting about your situation and unhappy emotions isn't, because it perhaps also ticks your current manager to think about how he acts. But it's also important to cut the connections of official social networks to these "all-sender-receiver"-networks like twitter. Twitter is easy and nice if everything is bad, but it's like hell when you prevent from separating internet stuff. I know this should be obvious, but all to often in the past, before I had post something bad about my position, I forgot that step and afterwards "head-desking" myself for being so stupid. If you're on search, be sure this is one of the first steps you take ;-). on the other side, frankly, if a company I would work for apply such Track-Methods, I don't see any reason to at least temporary also let ethic beside during search. Trust is a two-sided sword, so the particular supervisor should also get what he gives. Perhaps it's a bit idealistic, but seeing by themselves what it's like to be tracked like that is sometimes the only to make people act gentle to their employees.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

I read your post and a few things bother me. First: "I have to admit I'm happy these supervisory methods are far less common in mid-europe than in the US." Would you care to provide some sort of verifiable facts to back up that assertion? By the way, simply quoting some law or regulation would "prove" nothing. Such are subject to little things like interpretation by more than one party, and are subject to variable degrees of obedience and enforcement. That is, just because a "law" says such and such (in your interpretation), this does not mean that it is either strictly followed or strictly enforced in the way YOU think it is or should be. You could be correct. Personally I don't know. And frankly haven't enough interest in the subject to do any research into it. Its just that I'm old enough, and experienced enough so that when any assertion takes the form of, "MY country (region, city, county, province, village, people, or whatever) is better than YOURS ...", as regards anything ... I have this little BS detector in my head that goes off. Beeping like crazy. FWIW, I'd say the same thing if you'd been a U.S. type making the same sort of assertion to someone from Germany. I'd want to know the FACTS that would lead one to come to that conclusion. So that I could determine whether one if speaking provable fact or just simply expressing an opinion. Sorry, its a bad habit of mine. Must be the engineer in me. Long ago it was drummed into my head that a good engineer never accepts something as a literal truth ... ever ... until that assertion is proven to be true by independently verifiable facts. And life has taught me that humans are humans. And just because some law, rule, or regulation says, "You CAN NOT do this." or "You MUST DO this."; that doesn't mean automatically that all or even most folks are in fact conforming to that law or rule in any strict and literal fashion. In fact I had a conversation with a Judge once. A man who'd been in that profession for many, many years. And who'd been a lawyer before that. Who told me that any law which was not (1) enforceable by FORCE, (2) actively enforced, and (3) willingly obeyed ... most of the time ... by the majority of the population was a farce. At best, a suggestion or guideline as versus a real law. He mentioned this because we were on the subject of the literally thousands and thousands of laws, rules, and regulations that'd been made up by someone or some group at some time; which were still on the books; but which were never or virtually never actually either enforced nor obeyed. As concerns some of the rest of the things you posted: "if they apply unethical methods, why shouldn't I ...." Really? I'm not actually sure that what the fellow I was talking about was doing anything particularly unethical. What makes it "unethical"? Or were you simply expressing your opinion? I'm curious. Personally I haven't given it a great deal of thought. It was pretty simple and straight forward to me. I posted info that was openly available for ANYONE to read. It wasn't as if he'd hacked into my private email account or anything. And on his part, he had a vested interest in trying to stay informed as much as possible about whether or not employees for the company where we worked were happy (enough) with working there, satisfied with their positions and the working conditions, etc. He also listened to the talk and gossip in the lunch rooms and in the work areas. Routinely had meetings/gatherings where he openly asked if anyone had any special gripes or complaints that could be addressed or resolved in some way. Etc. Would he have been any more or less unethical if he'd simply been present in the lunchroom, for instance, and I'd made an open and public announcement that I was looking for a different job? Should he have covered his ears? Pretended he didn't hear it? FWIW, I also know that he routinely and regularly browses profession related groups and sites with the goal of possibly identifying someone who might seem to be a good hiring prospect. Someone who by virtue of the quality and content of his or her posts reveals a level of knowledge and skill or special knowledge that would be useful to the company for whom he works. Heck, he even has a list of particular technical schools and colleges where he has contacts with the staff. Whom he contacts from time to time inquiring about whether or not they have a student who might fit some criteria he has previously given them. If they do, he asks them to pass on a request to that student to contact him for discussion about future employment possibilities. The educational staff, BTW, does not give him the name, etc of the student. IF the student elects to call him, the student himself or herself reveals his/her identity at that time if he or she so chooses. In any event, I had never felt that this fellow had been doing anything particularly unethical. Never actually gave it much thought. Except to realize that apparently he felt I was valuable enough to the organization so that he immediately took steps to see if he could keep me working for them. Now, as I sad before, if he'd found a way to be browsing through my private email, tapped my phones, or whatever ... that'd be a different issue. But all he did was read what I'd openly posted on the Internet which ANYONE could read. I hadn't blocked the company from reading it. And even if I had, wouldn't have worked in his case since he did this sort of thing from home. Not to hide his activity. Simply because when he was at work in the office, he had too many other more important things to do. Doesn't use his real name when doing so, but then neither do I when doing general browsing. I always use an assumed "Internet Name". Even when on certain professional sites for general chat and professional knowledge exchange between professionals. Those sites have my real name, but allow the usage of screen names. As far as your feeling like you are justified to do something unethical just because someone else did it first? I can't say that I personally agree with your logic. But, heck, you're a free human, do and believe as you will. Speaking solely about my own personal views. My belief is that if a person TRULY believes something to be right or wrong, ethical or unethical, he or she behaves that way regardless of whether or not someone else is or isn't doing whatever. And whether or not someone else is looking/observing. And whether or not one can get away with doing whatever and no one else the wiser. You either believe something and behave accordingly, even if no one else is looking or will never know the difference, or you probably don't really believe in whatever it is you're claiming to believe in. Of course, its common enough human behavior to have someone think that it wrong for others to do something but okay if you, yourself do it. We're all subject to that line of thinking and behavior. I've been guilty of it myself. But I make every effort I can to catch myself doing it, and to correct myself. Doesn't matter if anyone else knows. Or what anyone else does or thinks. It only matters that -I- know. And what -I- believe. Or think I believe. I try my best to live IAW what I think I believe. I have to live with myself. Look at myself in the mirror every morning. What others do or think is irrelevant. If I thought this guy I was talking about was doing something unethical. I wouldn't copy the behavior. I would have either confronted him and told him to knock it off in no uncertain terms. Or I would have terminated my employment there.

sbrinker
sbrinker

The problem with the "everone else is doing it why shouldn't we?" is that it's an ever-escalating game. First, person A who is prone to moral equivocation decides to push the envelope...just a bit. Second, everyone sees person A "get away with it" and decides to join in. Person A is now even with everyone again, and again decides to push the boudaries a little more. Continue ad nauseam. Worse yet, it isn't even necessary to have a person A. Use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional sports are justified with the "I was just trying to keep up" defense without any pressure to explain who they were trying to keep up with. Even the guy who flew his plane into the IRS building in Texas was playing the same game of escalation. It's a personal decision because we all draw the line at different points. I figure if you can sleep at night then you're probably OK. Of course if you can't, you can always medicate yourself out of moral turpitude.

ISGeek77
ISGeek77

Sorry, Mr. Kehl. You stated that you consider the company's behavior to be unethical, and that means you can also be unethical. Someone else's choices do not excuse yours. If you are deciding that unethical behavior is the way to go, you will be held accountable for it. And using the excuse that someone else did it first won't get you very far. Regardless of what other people do, ethics matter. Character counts. When I hire, character is the top quality I look for. I can teach most everything else if the person is teachable, but character is a heart matter. If you don't have it, I can't trust you. If I can't trust you, you're either not going to get, or not going to keep, your job.

melbert09
melbert09

When I have been in the position to hire people, I have always made it a point of knowing what the current situation of the person I am interviewing is. If they are currently employed, I will usually make time at about 6 or 6:30 to interview and will let them know that they can come in as they normally dress with their current job (within reason). If the place is a very formal place I can inform them of the dress code during the interview. The reason I do this is that I know what it is like to look for a job while you have one. I also know from experience that I may not accept the applicant and would not want them to risk their current job by having an interview with me. I also know that the interview process is a two Way Street, so working a little with someone can go a long way in the impression they get of the organization and wanting to work at my company. Bottom line is that these are things that I would have liked to have happened when I was interviewing with companies. Instead of having interviews at 10am and taking half the day off.

MC-MikeyFreedom
MC-MikeyFreedom

As one who is currently looking for work, I couldnt agree more. I also used to be as flexible as possible when I was a manager. Now that I am looking again, I am finding it even more difficult, because I am looking for a job in a different country than where I work. Taking a half day off for an interview is not going to work! If someone met me at the airport for an interview, or, actually paid for my flight to go and see them, then that would be great. But these days, if it is out of office hous they dont want to know. Also, why do I have to wear a suit? I am a techie, who would never meet a client - the dutch have the right idea, noone in my office wears a suit, jeans and tshirt is the order of the day. Rant over. Still wish there would be more managers like you though. It would be a better world if more people thought in that way - Do to others what you would want them to do to you. Heard that somewhere before, now where was it . . . . . .

cmp99
cmp99

Agree with you 100%. I prefer to ask the applicant when would be a suitable time for him to come in, instead of me setting the time.

widd11e
widd11e

In the States you would be worshiped. You are lucky to get the time slot for the interview here when you want it. Many say, "If you want the job bad enough, then you will be here at 8:30am." Others say, "We only interview on Mondays or Tuesdays." They give you no way to make a time slot of your own, or allow you to come in at your own convenience. Chances are also, you are not the only one booked for that same day and time slot. You could be sitting there thirty minutes or four hours... Or more! Unless you know ahead of time if you are the only one scheduled for that day and time. Other wise get there early it a mad house!

george.flecknell
george.flecknell

This is the most encouraging thing I have read in years. It might seem like a small thing for you but this very statement "Bottom line is that these are things that I would have liked to have happened when I was interviewing with companies." is a rare thing. If only more politicians and managers thought the same way as you.

Ed Woychowsky
Ed Woychowsky

You are a saint amoung managers. I'd send a resume, but the commute would be a little on the far side.

daveoffive
daveoffive

Recently, I had a contractor call me at the office. I asked her if I had posted my phone number on my resume. She said "No". It was a fustrating situation. How would you handle it.

dina04
dina04

Once a co-worker reponded to an blind add that was a perfect fit for his job. He responded and, of course, it was our boss who put it up and promptly fired him. I realized what a prick our boss was and soon left too. Then again I had a boss who was shutting down the company and gave me two months to find something else. Anything I needed to do. I found a new job in a couple of weeks. But overall, most companies won't give you advance notice before they can you because they think you'll stop working, maybe do something for revenge,...etc. They do what's in THEIR best interests and so should you.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

All of the "tips" in this article are bogus. In a professional work place if the work isn't challenging or if the employement doesn't fit the individual and the company cannot provide the means for advancement then the employee is under no obligation to remain loyal (whatever that word means anymore). Seriously, if I want to search for a job I will do it on company time, I will interview on company time, I will perfect my resume on company time. If I have expressed interest in obtaining more work, better work, a pay raise, a career advancement and the company does nothing to aid me then there is nothing wrong with finding another job. A GOOD company will understand that they cannot meet the employees needs and will even ENCOURAGE a job search during company time. A REALLY GOOD company (this would never happen) would have an open dialogue and would know the employee was leaving, would reruit a replacement and foster good will with the employee-employer relationship. In at will work places, looking for better employement on the employers time is not a crime nor is it unethical. Which is better? An employee who performs poorly because they hate their job and the company will not advance them after multiple requests or an employee that moves on to a better career? IT IS LUDICROUS and IMPRACTICAL to say an employed person cannot use company time to find better employement. The reality is that people will do whatever it takes to find what is best for them.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

It's unethical to do anything personal on the company's time. It's like stealing.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"What Planet Do You Live On?" Earth. Tho I do like to take holidays on Saturn. "In a professional work place if the work isn't challenging or if the employment doesn't fit the individual and the company cannot provide the means for advancement then the employee is under no obligation to remain loyal (whatever that word means anymore)." First, the term "loyal", in English, pretty much still means what it has always meant. One may be loyal to a person, cause, ideal, institution, business, or whatever. Typically, if one is an employee of a business, one would be expected to be loyal to one's obligations and responsibilities to that business. As defined by one's employment contract, terms and conditions of employment, employee rulebook, etc. For at least as long as one is accepting a paycheck from said business. The English language usage of the term "loyal" does NOT necessarily imply "utterly", "in all possible ways", or "forever". Unless those modifiers, or similar ones, are added. However, under American business law it is commonly understood that both an employer and an employee be "loyal" to their contractual obligations to each other (nothing more is required under law), otherwise the contract is broken. Would you mind telling me what CONTRACTUAL obligation your employer has to GUARANTEE that you advance within their company? OTOH, you are contractually obligated to be fulfilling your company assigned duties when on the clock and being paid by the company. Unless they expressly permit otherwise. As another poster put it, you'd deserve to be fired in a heartbeat with your attitude and view if you acted IAW them. You are perfectly entitled to have any opinion you want. But your OPINION does not equate to FACT. Your conditions for calling a company "Good" or "Really Good" are nothing more than your personal opinion. But have no basis in law or FACT. Unless those conditions you use to judge them are part of the contractual agreement between you and the employer. Your obligation, your loyalty that is expected of you, is to spend the time for which they are paying you engaged in doing the duties you are assigned and agreed to do when hired. A couple of years ago where I work we had a fellow who became dissatisfied with his job. He was in lower management. Has learned to perform his job in excellent fashion. He was one our our best, if not THE best in his job. But it had begun to bore him, it was no longer a challenge. Besides, it was just one facet of his chosen career field. And he wished to gain experience and expertise in others. Plus, he thought we was worth more pay than he was currently receiving. We, the company, did not disagree with him. Quite understood where he was coming from. The problems were twofold. One, in his current position we could offer no further increase in pay. He was at the top of the scale for that position. And while he was VERY good at it, the duties of that job position weren't WORTH any more than what he was already being paid. If we paid him more, it would produce no extra income. All that would happen would be that the net profits realized by his team would decrease. It made no business sense whatsoever. Keep in mind that it's a corporation. Those running it have a CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION, under law, to the stock holders to not just throw away their money frivolously without the prospects of being able to get it back at some point in the form of future earnings. Two, there was NO currently available open position for this guy we could move him to which would fulfill his wants and needs. Were we supposed to fire some other employee who was doing a perfectly fine job, just to put this fellow in his or her place? The problem was discussed by all concerned. The fellow had approached his superiors and posed his dilemma to them. He liked the company, and we all liked him. But at the current state of the business environment we were operating under, there was nothing we could do for him that would not violate some other obligations and duties we had. It was discussed long and hard. And many proposed solutions passed around and seriously considered. But none of them were workable. We wanted him to stay. Badly. But there was just no way to achieve that which would not screw over other employees or the stock holders. In the end, he was informed that if business picked up in the area of his expertise we did see a new position for him. BUT ... we really did not expect that to occur within the next 2 years in all honesty. Perhaps it was a far as 3 or 4 years in the future. (But no guarantees, this was only our best guess and estimate) The fellow said that he hoped we could find it possible to create that position for him, understood it couldn't happen NOW, but felt it was in his own best interest to start a job search to see if he could find a suitable position now of the type that'd advance his career goals. He also said he'd keep us informed and make it clear to any future employer that he needed to give us suitable notice and time to properly replace him. Everyone agreed that 30 days notice would be adequate and acceptable. We knew we had in-house candidates who could almost beyond any doubt take up his duties and do an adequate job of it. Filling HIS position was no particular problem. Having an available position to fulfill his wants and needs was our problem. We did not, of course, advertise the fact that we started seriously considering just who we'd pick to replace him. Not knowing at the time precisely when, or even if, he'd be leaving. Wouldn't be fair to someone to get their hopes up, just to find out that this fellow could not find the position he wanted. And so it went for a bit over a year. This guy, in all that time, never once slacked up on his excellent performance of his duties. Earned every single dime of his paycheck. He did in fact occasionally use some time during normal working hours in his job search. We knew that, he was quite open and honest about it. But he made up for it by working extra hours in the evening, and so forth. Heck, there were times when others of us passed on info to him that might help him. "Hey, Dan, have you looked at ABC Inc? The word is they're fixing to can a guy who is currently doing the sort of work you are looking for. I got that from the Big Boss, our COO. He went to college with ABC's CEO, and they play golf together all the time. He told me to pass it on to you and that he'd write you a good recommendation if you want it." (True story, only the name of the company is changed) That particular lead didn't work out. But the guy got plenty of others. Ones he found for himself; and one's passed on from peers, subordinates, and upper management. As it turned out the final lead that turned into a firm new job came from this guy's direct supervisor. The day he left us, upper management bought him and several of us who worked with him lunch. And we gave him a bit of a going away ceremony. In the end, it was made clear that if he ever wished to come back, and we did have an opening for him, he'd be given preferential consideration. The point is that this guy held up his end of the bargain (contract). Did not sneak around on company time, etc to do his job search. Took the risk that he might be fired immediately, rather than to engage in what he thought to be unethical behavior on his part. He thought about all this I know, as we are friends and he had discussed this with me confidentially before acting. He felt the company had always been quite fair and honest with him. Not to say he always liked every decision they made or agreed with them on every issue. But they'd remained loyal to their contractual agreements with him. Treated him fairly and IAW the established and agreed upon rules. And he felt he owed them no less.

dallas_dc
dallas_dc

There is no loyalty required other than to meet your obligations to your employer (perform the work required) and your employer to meet their obligations to you (pay you). The focus of this forum is to provide information to assist Technical Professionals with their career. I feel it is my responsibility as a participant to provide my opinion on what I consider to be professional and ethical conduct and what is not. It is not unprofessional or unethical to look for a new or better position while employed. It is recommended that you not leave a job until you have found a new one (unless you are independently wealthy). It is unprofessional and unethical to look for and interview for a job on company time. Return a call during lunch. Come in early to allow you to leave early for an interview. (get approval if necessary and tell them you have personal business to attend to) Use vacation time. All of these are acceptable. Taking a 3 hour lunch for an interview - not so much. Good luck!

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

This is what I would hope would happen in all companies. Ufortunately, when the company cannot meet your needs and if you ever openly mention that you ar searching for another position in a different company they quickly replace your position. To bad all companies cannot be like the one you worked for. Open and honest. It would be great if after careful consideration, the employer would come back to the employee and tell them there are no open positions or we cannot provide any further advancement so go ahead and spend a few hours searching or interviewing. It seems that if the employee was stellar that it wouldn't be his fault that he was stalled in his career. Anything that I have stated in the past was merely hypothetical. You guys on here are savages! ATTACK. I like the judgement calls on my character, like I am a dirtbag for playing the devils advocate. Good fun. You all have a very rosy picture of employers. I wonder if you have seen or been involved with employee terminations? When it is not the employees fault it is unfortunate. I just don't think in an at will environment that an employee has the upper hand. An employer can live without one employee, an employee cannot live without a job. I still think that spending a few hours out of the month to make sure your resume is current and you're aware of he market is healthy for the employee...how about during lunch break? So much cloak and dagger because we cannot have open relationships at work.

ningcaptor
ningcaptor

In my line of work (retail/customer service), the computers and phone are our businesses only means of communication to the outside world. To be tying them up with your own personal concerns is not only a waste of company resources, but also a waste of employee time (e.g. productivity). When productivity is lost, the company loses money. When the company loses money, people are made redundant. True, your argument that if you don't get ahead in your career (e.g. promotion, increased pay due to increased responsibility) it's not worth your time being there. However, I don't believe that you should constantly ask for a promotion. I do firmly believe that you should question your role within the company, where you should be heading, and if there are any chances for self development. Also, I can't see how hard it would be to speak to your manager to try and voice your concerns and see if there is any way to resolve them. In my opinion, someone who constantly asks for something should not get it, unless they are the only person qualified to do the job they're asking for. From the company's perspective, they may not have any positions available for someone who wants to advance within the company. Remember the saying, "Too many chiefs, not enough indians". In the business world, I believe, wholeheartedly, that this saying is completely true. So for you to say that it is ludicrous and impractical to allow an employee to use company time to look for a better job, is in and of itself ludicrous and impractical. In the grand scheme of things, you are there being paid to do a job. Look for another job in your own time, and do your job to the best of your abilities until you are ready to move on. Well that's my opinions anyway.

richardherwig
richardherwig

I should know better than to feed the troll---which "WiseITOne' obviously is-- but I couldn't resist replying to his nonsensical arguments. First, it is a violation of most employee handbooks to partake in non-work related tasks during business hours, including looking for another job...it's called theft of services and is very unprofessional. Second, "Just because other people do it" is no excuse, especially coming from a manager.And last, Maslow's Hierarchy of needs says nothing about you having the right to do whatever you want when certain needs aren't being met, it's simply a metaphorical illustration that lower needs must be met before higher needs can truly be fulfilled; Maslow said that his "hierarchy" wasn't to be taken literally and was value-neutral when it came to specifics. When someone whines that they should always get to do what they want, i usually give them a glass of milk and send them for a nap...because it's usually my 5-year old.

mino
mino

"In my opinion, someone who constantly asks for something should not get it, unless they are the only person qualified to do the job they're asking for." Actually, my previous boss abiding by your principle was THE reason while I left the company. Maybe, just maybe, sometime you would realize that if an employee is ASKING to be assigned some work that _HE_ is pretty much of being capable of doing it AND would REALLY invest in the task. But yeah, YOU say there are 3 people "capable" of doing the job because they seem to be from your POW. You know what? The will come a moment when the guy really capable of doing the work will say NOT ANYMORE and refuse to continue cleaning up the mess after his colleagues. Think about it for a minute ...

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

At least you had the deceny to open your mind to the other side of the argument. The prior posters were so ready to fire their flame guns. Ok, so its fine to be disadvantaged because you are employed? Because you are employed you don't have the ability to search for jobs and interview during the day? I've never met a person that doesn't polish the resume, look for better employment oportunities or interview during office hours. It is how I have found my past 3 positions. There are far greater wastes of company time and resources than job hunting. And don't rail me about loyalty. I am in an at will state and I have seen plenty of my co-workers get fired with no notice. Is this fair? Not having an understanding of the market, your resume up to date and constant feelers is what fools do. I would rather be prepared than left when my pants down looking for employment. If you want to find something that is immoral or unethical how about the HOURS people spend at work surfing the net. The reality is that not all jobs can provide constant work, there are down periods or times when orders need to come in or the next big gig needs to show up. People also go to doctors appointments, use sick days for not being sick, as well as a slew of other things. Advancing the personal career is far better than taking government wellfare because the company had to do a massive lay off because they couldn't sell a product.

george_cabe
george_cabe

You're fired!

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

You're painting with a pretty broad brush there, guy. Some unions, or more specifically some locals (branches) of some Unions may behave like you indicate. With others, things are considerably different. For instance, with many of the locals with which I am familiar, behavior such as the OP to whom you responded portrays would be grounds for the local Union Rep to personally discipline the offender for violation of Union rules. And that is, when on the clock you WILL be doing the job for which you are paid. Period. For instance, where I work we have both Union and non-Union employees. Now, we do have some issues with some of the Union rules. The various shop stewards are sticklers about the Union members "Rights". OTOH, they are also just as strict about the Union members toeing the line with regards to Union dictated "Rules of Conduct in the Work Place". i.e. If one's work day starts at 07:00 a.m., you start work at 07:00 a.m. Not 07:01. You're expected to be there early enough so that when the clock strikes the time to begin work, you're where you need to be, wide awake, sober, and ready. All tools and materials ready to go. And you stick nose to the grindstone until the rules say its time to quit. For a break, for lunch, or whatever. If break time is 15 minutes, its 15 minutes. Not 16. Etc. Work performed during time for which you are paid must meet expected standards. If it does not, you can be held responsible and can be made to redo it ... on your own time. Etc. I am quite aware that things may be different elsewhere with other Unions or Locals. I'm just speaking about those in our area with which we deal. The Locals around here are as much a stickler about a member following the work rules as established by contract as they are protecting member Rights. One more than one occasion we've had a member of this or that local who violated the Workplace Rules where the local Shop Steward stepped in first and attempted to correct the member's bad behavior. And when that didn't work, told the company to do whatever they felt necessary because the Union wasn't going to fight it and were in fact removing the fellow from their membership. As I said, we don't always agree with them. But we have no issues with regards to the performance of their members in doing their jobs and following the rules when on the clock. That said, I'm speaking solely about Unions representing workers in the private sector. From what I've observed, some of the Unions representing governmental and educational institution workers are a whole different subject.

richardherwig
richardherwig

Yes, it's a discussion forum---and I haven't heard anyone threaten you, WiseITOne, but besides using an arrogant alias, your initial post is the cause of the flak you're receiving...and it (the flak) is completely justified. To put it mildly, you are dead wrong on several statement you made. Let's look at them: 1) "In at will work places, looking for better employement on the employers time is not a crime nor is it unethical." Um, yes, it is. As many others have stated, it's at the very least unethical (you're taking someone's money but cheating them out of the service [i.e., your labor] that you agreed to do), and possibly violate civil/criminal statutes depending on how bad it is(riding the clock not only violates most employee agreements HR has you sign when hired---and that exposes you to civil liability---but also constitutes theft of services or even embezzlement in some states---check the labor law). Regardless, any business school freshman can tell you it's solid grounds for termination unless you're union. Bottom line is that stealing is stealing, regardless of the excuse or how you dress it up...and that's unethical. 2) "Which is better? An employee who performs poorly because they hate their job and the company will not advance them after multiple requests or an employee that moves on to a better career?" This is pretty much an irrelevant comment, an association fallacy that has nothing to do with whether someone searches for a job ON THE CLOCK or not--- which is the topic in play. Yes, it is better that the employee move on, but who says they need to do it on the company's dime? Many people have posted answers to this question about what the company owes an employee, and many have said some variation of "there's many legitimate reasons why a company may not be able to help an employee move up, so why not part the right way instead of burning bridges" but that is all a separate discussion from whether on the clock job searching is morally right. Let's stick to the subject. 3)"IT IS LUDICROUS and IMPRACTICAL to say an employed person cannot use company time to find better employement. The reality is that people will do whatever it takes to find what is best for them." Once again, you offer nothing but an assertion---a personal opinion---and no factual basis to support your claim. How is it "ludicrous" or impractical" to search for another job on your own time...or even as another poster pointed out, you can quit and have all the time you need? You also demonstrate the same attitude the criminal element in society has, which is a purely selfish and juvenille understanding of how things work. Mature people usually know how to restrain themselves, to sacrifice for family and friends, and to try to find ways where everyone can win...not just themselves. Try again.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

Again, people on here take comments so literally and personally. Calm down. This is a DISCUSSION forum and everyone can post an opinion or anyone can play the devils advocate role. My thought would be that if an employee was performing well (only a moron would ask for a raise or promotion with no basis)then they could seek for improvements. If the company has no means or is unwilling the employee may then search for employment in another company. Companies want to retain good workers but sometimes conditions tie their hands. I think their is a far greater number of employees that are self interested than there are employees that will do anything and everything for their employer. People look out for themselves first and then they cover the company.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Unions are for people who believe that they DESERVE a job and DESERVE quarterly raises, performance (company or otherwise) be damned!

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

What a substantiated post, your claims and reasoning were beyond me.

sbrinker
sbrinker

The word "wise" should be nowhere near your name with posts like that. Wisdom is an accrual of knowledge tempered by real-world experience. Theoretically, a company may want all of the employees to be doing work that they enjoy. In reality, it simply is not possible for everyone to be doing only what they want to do. And just because you ask to be advanced does not mean the company is obliged to grant your request. Maybe you should do a little self-evaluation before using hours you are being paid for to find the next company you can blame for all your problems.

gechurch
gechurch

What a funny little series of posts you're making! I totally agree with others that you are advocating a completely unprofessional suggestion. And not searching for another job as you like to defend, but using time that your current employer is paying you for to do it. You want a better job? Fine, you spend your spare time to find one. Sure, a smart employer will try to retain good employees and keep them happy. But there's no contract to say that's what they will do. Nope, they pay you in exchange for you turning up and doing work. That's why your comment about how disadvantaged you are compared to someone unemployed is so disingenious. Yes, they have spare time. But you get paid in exchange for your time. That's the deal. Don't like it - quit! You will immediately get the full advantage of time. Your whole series of posts reak of someone that is a user. You seem to believe it is ok to waste a few work hours surfing the web (because "everyone else does it", right?). You are so avid about what your emplyoer should be doing to keep you happy, but there's clearly no thought of what you should be doing to keep your employer happy with you. If you think surfing the net and searching for a new job in work time are ways of getting an employer to offer you that career advancement you "deserve", I can see why you would be upset.

Osiyo53
Osiyo53

"If you study management practices you will find something called Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Some of those needs are career advancement. If a company cannot provide for the employee, the employee has no obligation or loyalty to stick around." Nice. A very good example of how to spin or twist something to make it appear to support one's own preconceived notions. Bravo. I see a bright future for you in politics.

sbrinker
sbrinker

Your whole point is that everyone should be as enlightened as you. Wouldn't that make you self-promoting, prideful, and pompous? And you appear to post more than I do, so I guess if I'm all of those then so are you. How illogical is it that you insult me for something you are obviously also guilty of? To the original point, your approach is self-serving and mean-spirited. It may serve you well, but I don't think it's a realistic model for job searchers on the whole.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

Reality is that employers should provide advancement for their employees, if they cared about not wasting money by constantly losing employees and having to retrain new ones. If you study management practices you will find something called Maslow?s Hierarchy of Needs. Some of those needs are career advancement. If a company cannot provide for the employee, the employee has no obligation or loyalty to stick around. Perhaps you should go study how to manage people instead of spending hours surfing the internet. I like all the flame that you three posters left. Shows me what kind of self-promoting, prideful, pompous people you are.

dallas_dc
dallas_dc

I would never want someone like you working for me. You talk about a "professional" work place, but these actions are the opposite of professional. You are being paid to perform a job. I assume your job description does not include looking for another job. Actively looking for a job and interviewing for a job while being paid by another employer is unethical, unprofessional, and by my standards, morally wrong. Let me know your opinion in the interview process. If you think it is OK, see how many job offers you get.

ME
ME

Try this little experiment: On your next job interview, be sure to mention that whenever you feel aggrieved enough to look for greener pastures, you will do it on company time, and you figure they owe that to you. If you do that enough times, and no doubt you will have many opportunities to give that speech, I think your estimate of the percentage of the world that thinks this behavior is "normal" will go way down.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

I would never want someone as snobby as you are working for me either. I was using all of the statements above as examples or scenarios. Jump off that high horse of yours and come down to reality. Normal people have always done job searches at work. If you are too ignorant to think so then you are not living in reality my friend. Why shuold an unemployed person have the advantage of being able to interview and search all day at any time? It is the fault of the company and their HR/management if an employee leaves. Their is nothig wrong with spending a few hours searching for a better career, that is 1/10th the time you spend wasting away surfing the net.

WiseITOne
WiseITOne

It really isn't that big of an issue unless your company is so uptight that they monitor phone conversations...which is unethical so I believe your o.k. To the poser saying they couldn't make personal calls at work... all i can say is WOW I am glad I do not work there. Those types of policies do not foster mutual employee respect for the employer. That must have been a blue collar job as I do not see how this would work in a professional setting.

Keighlar
Keighlar

Not only are our phone calls monitored, there are video cameras in every corner both inside and outside the building (which are watched almost all day), websites visited are tracked, and absolutely NO non-emergency calls are tolerated. I believe it's BECAUSE we are a technology company that it's worse than elsewhere. The tools are available and readily used. We are by no means blue collar workers.

matt.birchall
matt.birchall

#1 Be glad that an agent called. Having agents call you tells you that your skills are in demand. #2 Respond to the caller with "Hi Sue, I'm a bit busy at the moment I'll call you later" If you act as if it's a friend calling then nobody should know what's going on.

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

I've worked a lot of places where there was a policy of no personal calls at work. Which included calls from the spouse or kids that was usually ignored for emergencies. Of course we also had mandatory scheduled breaks so you could quickly tell the caller that you'd call them back at such and such a time, then go out to your car at break time with your cell phone to do business.

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